June 16, 2024

NJ Transit cancels power plant, reallocates funds to other projects

TransitGrid, opposed by environmentalists, would have provided backup power for rail lines

An NJ Transit train arrives at Secaucus Junction in August 2019. The transit agency has killed plans for a power plant in Kearny, N.J., that would have powered rail lines in the event of a blackout. David Lassen

NEWARK, N.J. — NJ Transit has cancelled a controversial natural-gas power plant designed in part to provide emergency power for rail lines, saying the project is “not financially feasible,” and will reallocate federal grant funds to other projects, the transit agency announced on Friday.

The TransitGrid Microgrid Central Facility in Kearny, N.J., would have generated power the agency could have used to power some of its lines in event of a blackout, and that could have been sold to Amtrak or others at other times. But environmental groups have opposed the project for several years, NorthJersey.com reports, and celebrated news of the cancellation on Friday.

Illustration of power plant
A rendering of the proposed TransitGrid plant in Kearny, N.J. NJ Transit

NJ Transit said in a press release announcing the cancellation of the power facility that it was no longer as critical as it was when first envisioned because of “multiple improvements to the affected power grid,” citing specifically investments in power grid resiliency by utility PSE&G that have improved power reliability.

The $503 million in federal funds that had been awarded to the project will be reallocated to three projects. Some $240 million will go to the project to replace the Raritan River Bridge damaged by Hurricane Sandy with a new two-track vertical lift bridge; $175 million will be allocated to the Delco Lead & County Yard Expansion, including new storage space in areas resilient against flooding; and $88 milion to the Hoboken Terminal Long Slip, which will fill in an existing canal and build six new, elevated tracks which also create a safe place to store cars in the event of a major storm or flooding.

“NJ Transit is grateful for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s support throughout this entire process,” agency CEO Kevin S. Corbett said. “While the TransitGrid procurement process provided valuable knowledge for the future, it showed the funding would be better used to protect these other critical points around the state. This determination was reinforced by New Jersey’s utilities’ work to strengthen the state’s power grid since Superstorm Sandy.”

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